I could not talk about Pearls without gravitating to my go-to Pearl store and self-proclaimed Pear Girl, Betty Newton, owner/buyer of a bientot accessories store on River Oaks Blvd in Houston where she greets you at front door with a display of all the newest looks, shapes and colors of Pearls for the today woman!
A Bientot point of view on the comeback of pearls….
Betty’s first remark to me was “I have always loved pearls on a woman as I find them to be flattering and incandescent to a woman’s complexion“. She’s also thrilled, “to see the affordability of pearl looks today brought on by the fashion variety that is available.” I’ve heard that before first, from a college professor at UH, Elsa Rosborough, who was a leading model in Houston at the time and recommended pearls as they made a woman’s complexion glow and when I was working at Neiman Marcus during college, helping to accessorize fashion shows, the Fashion Director at the time, Alex Pruitt, always gave that same pointer as a hint for the runway and we used them a lot! So needless to say I am a long-time believer in the benefits of wearing pearls. However, what has really gotten me excited of late, is that pearls are making a major comeback……..not worn only as the heirloom pieces of your Grandmothers (hey, Nonnis don’t apply!) but they are much more updated in styling for the modern woman. Just a walk around Betty’s store and you will see pearls used in many ways that they have never been used before. Mixed in contemporary styling, adding elements such as tassles and colored gemstones to their classic look and of course, one of the things that started it all for the pearl comeback was a combination of the return of the stud earring and with that the newsiest of this studs, Dior’s double stud earring that has been on every starlet, fashionista and of course, yours truly, as well. You can recognize Betty’s commitment to this favorite fashion statement of hers when you walk in the front door and are met by a beautiful display (see photo above), of every imagineable type of pearl…..all with it’s own unique and very chic sense of style!
Fashion and Pearls
To the Fashion World, pearls have always been the perfect compliment to so much of what the designers love to see. No one can question the impact that Coco Chanel pearls had on her timeless dressing. Also, there is not a fashion icon from past eras, such as Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelley, and others that did not covet the use of pearls with their exquisite, classic designer ensembles. The pearl business may have taken a quiet lull for a few years but now we have many great contemporary fashion jewelry designers that are realizing the void and can appreciate their beauty and how the immense assortment of pearls can be used in very modern styling. Not merely as a stand (or strand) alone stone, they are being shown in colors, in assorted shapes such as freshwater, mother-of pearl, baroque and mixed with colored semi-precious stones and various metals to make for more interesting offerings for the creative customer…….a touch of the classic with a lot more flair and creativity but remaining always a touch of elegance!
So how did this comeback happen?
First of all, as so many trends find their origin in the fashion world, it began with celebrities…..Kate Middleton, Michelle Obama, Sara Jessica Parker , Emma Stone, Katy Perry and Angelina Jolie to name a few, began adding pearls as “the accessory” to their sophisticated wardrobes, creating a much more modern look that is beginning to appeal now to a much newer customer, the younger set .
On left, the front table of a bientot, there is a variety of pearl shapes and colors with the fun here being in mixing them up when wearing them….either way you go you are making a definite pearl statement; on the right the pearl is a participant in a very active trend that is taking place in Jewelry right now and that is the addition of many charms on a chain necklace. Here the pearl is added to an assortment and gives just a touch of brightness and elegance!
Another approach is to mix pearls in with other contemporary looks such as the chain necklace on the left and when it comes to earrings, the choices are endless…..studs, drops, pearl hoops…..all alone in one style of pearl or mixed with semi-precious stones.
Pearls and Gold work so well together….in these updated styles you see how you can mix your strands of pearls with gold necklaces you own; in the earring collection you can see how pearls can be used in the popular chandelier styles for those that like a larger earring either by mixing with gold or as in mother-of-pearl where they can become the design themselves. Being a tassle lover as I am I had to have that long pearl necklace that I will layer with other pearl strands and gold chains and let the tassel be the newness!
Some other choices in Pearls from Designers we know…
The following are some great choices that we found online from many of our partners such as Neiman Marcus, Saks and Nordstrom that illustrate how Pearls are being re-interpreted these days by many of today’s Jewelry designers that we have loved for their classic styling of the past. Some of the choices are Ippolita, David Yurman and even Bauble Bar and J.Crew that puts a fun classic-with-a-twist on their use of pearls in their jewelry, as well….hence, this classic look is now appealing to all ages! Please check out their sites, you are in for a pleasant surprise.
Something Special: A Modern Twist on Pearls…..Elegant, Italian Style
One of Houston’s own chic-set, Cathy Borlenghi, has developed a pearl-based collection, called the Mrs. B Collection (click to see MRG intro of collection for more details), that is all about how the modern woman wants to wear pearls and she does in her own Italian way…..using as her base stone, the exquisite Scaramazza pearls from Italy that she wraps in a beautiful 18K rose gold setting. Her collection is a collaboration with a jewelry designer in Italy, where each piece has to be made by hand due to the uniqueness of each pearl. Her collection can be purchased online at mrsbecollection.com or in her boutique in the Hotel Granduca in Houston.
Mrs. Borlenghi, in making her decision to make her mark on our town and the jewelry world was quoted as saying, “what do women love more than jewelry and within those jewels, is there any woman who does not love Pearls!” Amen, Cathy….agreed!
photos courtesy of Roz Pactor’s Iphone, Neiman Marcus, Saks, Nordstrom, Bauble Bar, J. Crew and Mrs. B Collection
COMMERCIAL MESSAGE: This Saturday, June 13, is a bientot’s infamous Sidewalk Sale, beginning at 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. This is a fashion happening in Houston and you should prepare to get there early…..fashionistas will be lined up outside! Such fun and unbelievable deals….don’t miss it!